UMD paying $4,000 for Loren Cameron's sexually explicit transgender photography show [PHOTOS]

Categories: Education, GLBT
Loren Cameron.jpg
Some question whether a public university should be spending $4,000 to display Cameron's work.
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In a move that is "causing shock waves," the University of Minnesota-Duluth is paying $4,000 to host a display of transgender activist Loren Cameron's sexually explicit photos.

Its unclear exactly when Cameron's exhibition will be displayed -- UMD officials say the specifics haven't been determined yet -- but October is "Queer History Month" at the school, which suggests Cameron's Duluth show will happen sometime then.

Cameron, 53, was born female and identified as a lesbian until his late 20s, when he began developing a more masculine look through bodybuilding, hormones, and surgery. Though he still has female genitalia (see the NSFW photo on page two of this post), Cameron now has a remarkably masculine physique and sports a beard.

In the early 1990s, Cameron began taking photos of his transformation from female to male. On his website, he writes about how his photography career took off from there:
"What was initially a crude documentation of my own personal journey quickly evolved into an impassioned mission. Impulsively, I began to photograph other transsexuals that I knew, feeling compelled to make images of their emotional and physical triumphs. I was fueled by my need to be validated and wanted, in turn, to validate them. I wanted the world to see us, I mean, really see us."
Cameron characterizes the purpose of his photography as providing "an affirming visual resource for transgendered people and to demystify the transsexual body for the non-transgendered viewer." His works-in-progress include transgendered partner nudes and documentation of surgical options for females who wish to become male.

It's fascinating stuff, but the public university's decision to spend thousands hosting an explicit show about a transgender man's sexual transformation drew the scrutiny of Campus Reform, which reports that UMD officials "refused to comment on how the presentation is educational to the student body."

Campus Reform also notes that hosting the Cameron exhibition is the latest in a string of controversial decisions by UMD officials this year, including acceding to a hunger striker's demand for more gender-neutral bathrooms on campus and the school's now-aborted sponsorship of the allegedly divisive Un-Fair Campaign.

Click to page two for a sample of Cameron's explicit self-photography (Warning: NSFW).

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